SBC to Rebrand Following Taiwan Acquisition

Locally owned Singapore Banking Corp. (SBC) will rebrand itself Thursday as Cathay United Bank (Cambodia) Corp. Ltd., or CUBC, as part of a deal that finalizes the acquisition of SBC by Taiwanese financial corporation Cathay United Bank, according to a copy of a speech that will be delivered Thursday at a ceremony marking the deal.

Cathay United Bank obtained a 70 percent stake in SBC in September 2012 and obtained the remaining 30 percent stake in September last year for a complete takeover.

“Cathay United reached an agreement to acquire 100 percent shares of Singapore Banking Corporation (SBC) in September 2013,” says the copy of the speech, to be delivered by Chamber of Commerce President Kith Meng.

In a press release issued Wednesday, Cathay United Bank said that SBC would be operating under the new brand name starting today.

“The renaming of the bank will have no impact on the day-to-day operations of the bank,” the statement adds.

Chang-Ken Lee, president of Cathay United Bank as well as its parent company, Cathay Financial Holdings, said in the statement that the takeover is part of the company’s overall strategy to penetrate the banking sector in Southeast Asia.

“CUBC is an important part of Cathay Financial Holdings’ overall growth strategy in Southeast Asia and we are firmly committed to growing CUBC into a leading bank in Cambodia,” he said.

Grant Knuckey, CEO of ANZ Royal, said foreign takeovers of local banks are bound to happen in Cambodia’s current market, which he added is becoming a two-tiered sector with an increasing gap between banks with foreign capital and those without.

“Domestic banks without access to foreign liquidity and capital are going to struggle because they are competing with banks that have access to cheaper foreign liquidity. Therefore, it is inevitable that we see domestic banks being taken over through foreign acquisitions in order to stay competitive,” he said.

Cathay United Bank has about $1.7 billion in capital, according to its website, and has offices in six countries, including Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

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